North Slope Borough sues Bureau of Land Management over taking away NPR-A potential

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Mayor Josiah Patkotak of North Slope Borough

The North Slope Borough filed suit to challenge the final rule for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska that was made by the Biden Administration.

The borough said the Bureau of Land Management, by making the NPR-A off limits to oil and gas development, did not meaningfully consult with the tribes in the area or the borough.

“The rule would significantly and irrevocably harm the North Slope’s right to self-determination and ability to provide essential services for residents. This suit is filed alongside the complaints of the Voice of the Arctic Inupiat and the State of Alaska, demonstrating the unity of North Slope communities and Alaskans in opposing the BLM’s unjust and unilateral action to harm the livelihoods of the residents of the North Slope,” the borough explained in a press statement.

“When I was sworn in as Mayor of the North Slope Borough, I made a solemn promise to protect and provide essential services for the people of the North Slope Borough. The BLM claims to act on our behalf but what they are truly doing is undermining my ability to fulfill that fiduciary obligation,” said Mayor Josiah Patkotak. “We on the North Slope don’t have the luxury of keeping quiet and waiting for a new industry to swoop in and replace our largest economic driver. We have to speak up for our future as a people.”

The North Slope Borough houses the entirety of the NPR-A, and represents the ancestral homelands of the Inupiat people. The North Slope Borough is the largest employer in the region and provides the majority of essential services depended upon by residents, including public safety services, utilities, education, public health services and wildlife and subsistence management. These services are funded by taxes on infrastructure within the Borough – taxes which account for 95% of the Borough’s revenue.

Members of the North Slope Iñupiat Tribes, Village Corporations, Regional Corporations, and their elected leaders have been unanimous in their opposition to the rule.

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Loper, which removed what is known as the Chevron Deference, the North Slope Borough is taking proactive steps to incorporate this precedent into its regulatory framework.

“By aligning our policies with this landmark decision, we aim to ensure that our administrative actions and interpretations of ambiguous statutes are carried out with a heightened level of judicial scrutiny. This approach underscores our commitment to transparency, legal integrity, and the protection of our community’s rights and resources. Furthermore, the Borough remains steadfast in its adherence to NEPA and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, ensuring that environmental and economic impacts are thoroughly assessed and that small entities are considered in the rule-making process,” the borough said.

The lawsuit follows one filed by the State of Alaska, which makes a similar case, saying the feds had not consulted with affected parties, and that the agency had exceeded its congressional authorization.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Great Josiah ! It’s about time a common sense leader from the Arctic speaks for its people . The Federal government ( Biden Administration) has over stepped its bounds once again . Seems like the Governor is challenging the Feds as well as the oil company’s effected . We purchased those leaseholds with intention of developing the oil underneath from the govt . Then the administration changed and shut the development down .

    We’ve got damages and a right to develop those leaseholds purchased in good faith . The decision by the Biden administration makes the projects not
    Financeable .

    I think with recent Supreme Court decision , Federal agency’s are on shaky footing . Hopefully when congress opens an area for oil extraction it can’t be shut down by an agency hack or activist .

  2. BLM, nps, f&w, etc. etc. need to be defunded and given the boot from our state and then hopefully all the communists who work for them will leave when their cushy do nothing jobs are ended.

  3. This article cannot be correct. Mayor Patkotak must have been misquoted. Everyone knows that all native peoples on the slope want the petroleum industry to go away, to protect the caribou herds for their subsistence lifestyle.

  4. Its a shame the rest of the folks who live in the villages don’t share his commitment to better the lives of everyone especially the younger generation who will have nothing but environmentalist control from outside of Alaska over their precious natural resources.

  5. Mayor Patkotak is an actual leader, making sound decisions and acting proactively on them. As our economic system implodes and the looming collapse of the dollar due to fiscal mismanagement on an unprecedented scale by the federal and our state’s Uniparty, access to energy is critical. Senators Stevens and Murkowski left a nightmarish legacy by allowing the federal agencies to perpetuate control and power over most of our state and its’ resources.

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